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Every year the stunning vista of Ireland's Cliffs of Moher delight up to one million awestruck visitors. At their highest point, the cliffs tower a breathtaking 702 feet and stretch 8kms along County Clare's Atlantic Coast. 
The 300 million year old cliffs stand as a testament to the incredible power and stamina of the natural world. These spectacular rock formations were created during the Carboniferous era. Usually, the bands of siltstone, shale and Namurian sandstone are only visible under the water, but they beam with goosebump-inducing beauty on this Western coast of Ireland. 
The Cliffs of Moher are not only a popular place for tourists, but also geologists who venture to the cliffs to study the fossil rich rocks. The many layers of the rocks tell the story of what life and the environment was like millions of years ago.
The landscape of this Irish treasure is constantly changing. The relentless wind and crashing of waves are causing coastal erosion, most obviously seen in Branaunmore, the 67 metre sea stack that stands below O'Brien's Tower. Today, this impressive column of rock stands alone, but it used to be part of the cliffs themselves.
 The Cliffs of Moher are also home to enchanting (albeit incredibly dangerous) sea caves. In addition to sea stacks, you can also see smaller sea stumps which likewise stand alone due to coastal erosion. 
Compared to this geologic history, the human history of the Cliffs of Moher is quite short. Humankind's relationship with the great cliffs goes back 2000 years. The name of the cliffs comes from the old Irish word 'Mothar' which translates to 'ruined fort' since a fort used to stand where the Moher Tower now presides. 
The cliffs have been used for quarrying, fishing and they’ve served as an invaluable lookout. In fact, in 1588 part of Spanish Armada was spotted by Boetius Clancy, the High Sheriff of Clare. 
Unsurprisingly, the sublime presence of the Cliffs of Moher have also made them home to many enchanting legends, including the Mermaid of Moher, The Corpse Eating Eel, The Hag and Cu Chulainn, The Lost City of Kilstiffen and the Leap of the Foals. 
In the grand tradition of Irish pub pastimes, we’ve decided to share our favourite Cliff of Moher legend with you here. Give it a read, and then regale your pub mates with the tale next time you visit us at Doc’s. 
 

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The Hag and Cu Chulainn
As legend has it, there once lived a witch or hag named Mal. She had the great misfortune of falling deeply in love with the great warrior, Cu Chulainn, who fought for the High King of Ulster. Her love did not yield feelings of reciprocity. In fact, Cu Chulainn did everything he could to avoid his admirer. 

She was persistent, however, and chased Cu Chulainn all across Ireland. When he came to the end of Loop Head - the tip of land to the south of the Cliffs of Moher - he was forced to utilize his great strength and skill to jump over the water to Diarmuid & Grainne's Rock - an island just off the coast. Mal did likewise, and luckily, the wind caught her skirts and allowed her to float over to the island to join her love.
Cu Chulainn, of course, didn't view this turn of events as fortuitous and he mustered all his remaining strength and leapt back to the mainland. Mal once again pursued, but this time the wind was not blowing in her favour. The unfortunate witch did not quite make the leap and she was battered to death on the rocks. 
Mal's blood turned the sea from Loop Head to the Cliffs of Moher crimson, and many claim Malbay is named after her. The rock from which they leaped is now called Hag's Head. It is believed it took her form, and to this day, visitors can clearly discern the profile of Mal looking out to sea.

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